Intimate Partner Violence Risk Assessment Tools: A Review
Intimate partner violence risk assessment tools serve many purposes in the criminal justice system. They are used in a number of different capacities and settings, including at sentencing, in treatment provision, and in victim safety planning. They are also used by a range of professionals, including law enforcement personnel, psychologists and victim service providers. The benefits of intimate partner violence risk assessment tools are many, but they also come with a number of limitations.
This review demonstrated that there are many options available to assessors tasked with the responsibility of estimating the risk that an offender will re-offend against an intimate partner. Due to limited research, however, it is not known which approach or tool is the most accurate in predicting intimate partner violence recidivism. As such, more research is needed in the area of intimate partner violence risk assessment to determine which tool is the most accurate in predicting intimate partner violence recidivism.
There are a number of factors that the assessor must consider when choosing a tool or an approach, including their own role, the population they are assessing, and the purpose of the assessment. It is also important for the assessor to keep in mind the various strengths and limitations of the specific risk assessment tools, and of risk assessment tools more generally. Keeping these elements in mind, it is possible for an assessor to choose the most appropriate tool to guide the assessment of the risk that an offender poses to an intimate partner.
- Andrews, D., and J. Bonta. 2004. LSI-R: Level of Service Inventory – Revised. Last accessed January 17, 2012.
- Andrews, D.A., J. Bonta, and J.S. Wormith. 2010. The Level of Service (LS) assessment of adults and older adolescents. In Handbook of violence risk assessment, eds. R.K. Otto and K.S. Douglas, 199-225. New York: Routledge.
- Bennett Cattaneo, L., M.E. Bell, L.A. Goodman, and M.A. Dutton. 2007. Intimate partner violence victims’ accuracy in assessing their risk of re-abuse. Journal of Family Violence 22: 429.
- Bennett Cattaneo, L., and L.A. Goodman. 2003. Victim-reported risk factors for continued abusive behavior: Assessing the dangerousness of arrested batterers. Journal of Community Psychology 31: 349.
- Braff, R., and C. Sneddon. 2007. Family Law Act reform: The potential for screening and risk assessment for family violence. Australian Domestic and Family Violence Clearinghouse. Sydney, Australia. Last accessed January 27, 2012.
- Brennan, S. 2011. Self-reported spousal violence, 2009. In Family violence in Canada: A statistical profile, catalogue number 85-224-X. Ottawa, ON: Statistics Canada. Last accessed January 27, 2012.
- Campbell, J.C., D.W. Webster, and N. Glass. 2009. The Danger Assessment: Validation of a lethality risk assessment instrument for intimate partner femicide. Journal of Interpersonal Violence 24: 653.
- Connor-Smith, J.K., K. Henning, S. Moore, and R. Holdford. 2011. Risk assessments by female victims of intimate partner violence: Predictors of risk perceptions and comparison to actuarial measure. Journal of Interpersonal Violence 26: 2517.
- Douglas, K.P., and P.R. Kropp. 2002. A prevention-based paradigm for violence risk assessment: Clinical and research applications. Criminal Justice and Behaviour 29: 617.
- Dutton, D.G., and P.R. Kropp. 2000. A review of domestic violence risk instruments. Trauma, Violence, and Abuse 1: 171.
- Guo, B., and C. Harstall. 2008. Spousal violence against women: Preventing recurrence. Institute of Health Economics. Alberta, Canada. Last accessed January 27, 2012.
- Hanson, R.K., L. Helmus and G. Bourgon. 2008. The accuracy of risk prediction for intimate partner violence. Research Summary, Volume 13. Ottawa, ON: Public Safety Canada. Last accessed January 27, 2012.
- Hanson, R.K., L. Helmus and G. Bourgon. 2007. The validity of risk assessments for intimate partner violence: A meta-analysis. Ottawa, ON: Public Safety Canada. Last accessed January 27, 2012.
- Hanson, R.K., and K.E. Morton-Bourgon. 2009. The accuracy of recidivism risk assessments for sexual offenders: A meta-analysis of 118 prediction studies. Psychological Assessment 21: 1.
- Hanson, R.K., and S. Wallace-Capretta. 2000. Predicting recidivism among male batterers. Ottawa, ON: Department of Solicitor General of Canada. Last accessed January 18, 2012.
- Hart, S.D. 2010. The critical roles of perpetrator risk, victim vulnerability, & community support factors. Paper presented at the Second Annual Canadian Domestic Homicide Prevention Conference, Calgary, Alberta.
- Heilbrun, K., K. Uasuhara, and S. Shah. 2010. Violence risk assessment tools: Overview and critical analysis. In Handbook of violence risk assessment, eds. R.K. Otto and K.S. Douglas, 1-17. New York: Routledge.
- Helmus, L., and G. Bourgon. 2011. Taking stock of 15 years of research on the Spousal Assault Risk Assessment Guide (SARA): A critical review. International Journal of Forensic Mental Health 10: 64.
- Hendricks, B., T. Werner, L. Shipway, and G.J. Turinetti. 2006. Recidivism among spousal abusers: Predictions and program evaluation. Journal of Interpersonal Violence 21: 703.
- Hilton, N.A., and G.T. Harris. 2005. Predicting wife assault: A critical review and implications for policy and practice. Trauma, Violence, and Abuse 6: 3.
- Hilton, N.Z., G.T. Harris and M. Rice. 2010. Risk assessment for domestically violent men: Tools for criminal justice, offender intervention, and victim services. Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.
- Hotton Mahony, T. 2011. Homicide in Canada 2010, catalogue number 85-002-X. Ottawa, ON: Statistics Canada. Last accessed January 12, 2012.
- Hoyle,C. 2008. Will she be safe? A critical analysis of risk assessment in domestic violence cases. Children and Youth Services Review 30: 323.
- Kercher, G., A. Weiss, and K. Rufino. 2010. Assessing the risk of intimate partner violence. Crime Victims’ Institute, Criminal Justice Centre, Sam Houston University. Last accessed March 12, 2012.
- Kropp, P.R. 2008. Intimate partner violence risk assessment and management. Violence and Victims 23: 202.
- Kropp, P.R. 2004. Some questions regarding spousal assault risk assessment. Violence Against Women 10: 676.
- Kropp, P.R., and S.D. Hart. 2005. The development of the Brief Spousal Assault Form for the Evaluation of Risk (B-SAFER): A tool for criminal justice professionals. Ottawa, ON: Department of Justice Canada. Last accessed January 9, 2012.
- Kropp, P.R., and S.D. Hart. 1997. Assessing risk of violence in wife assaulters: The spousal assault risk assessment guide. In Impulsivity: Theory, assessment and treatment, eds. C.D. Webster and M.A. Jackson, 302-325. New York: The Guilford Press.
- Laing, L. 2004. Risk assessment in domestic violence. Topic Paper, Australian Domestic and Family violence Clearinghouse, UNSW, Sydney.
- Millar, A. 2009. Inventory of spousal violence risk assessment tools used in Canada. Ottawa, ON: Department of Justice Canada. Last accessed January 9, 2012.
- Nicholls, T.L., S.L. Desmarais, K.S. Douglas, and P.R. Kropp. 2006. Violence risk assessments with perpetrators of intimate partner abuse. In Family Interventions in domestic violence: A handbook of gender-inclusive theory and treatment, eds. J. Hamel and T. Nicholls, 275-301. New York: Springer Publishing Company.
- Rice, M.E., G.T. Harris, and N.Z. Hilton. 2010. The Violence Risk Appraisal Guide and Sex Offender Risk Appraisal Guide for Violence Risk Assessment and the Ontario Domestic Assault Risk Assessment and Domestic Violence Risk Appraisal Guide for Wife Assault Risk Assessment. In Handbook of violence risk assessment, eds. R.K. Otto and K.S. Douglas, 99-119. New York: Routledge.
- Roehl, J., and K. Guertin. 2000. Intimate partner violence: The current use of risk assessments in sentencing offenders. The Justice System Journal 21: 171.
- Roehl, J., C. O’Sullivan, D. Webster, and J. Campbell. 2005. Intimate partner violence risk assessment validation study, final report. United States Department of Justice. Last accessed January 19, 2012.
- Singh, J.P., M. Grann, and S. Fazel. 2011. A comparative study of violence risk assessment tools: A systematic review and metaregression analysis of 68 studies involving 25, 980 participants. Clinical Psychology Review 31: 499.
- Sinha, M. 2012. Family violence in Canada: A statistical profile, 2010, catalogue number 85-002-X. Ottawa, ON: Statistics Canada. Last accessed May 22, 2012.
- Storey, J.E., A.L. Gibas, K.A. Reeves, and S.D. Hart. 2011. Evaluation of violence risk (threat) assessment training for police and other criminal justice professionals. Criminal Justice and Behavior 38: 554.
- Williams, K.R. and S.R. Grant. 2006. Empirically examining the risk of intimate partner violence: The Revised Domestic Violence Screening Instrument (DVSI-R). Public Health Reports 121: 400.
- Wong, T., and J. Hisashima. 2008. State of Hawaii, 2003-2007: Domestic violence exploratory study on the DVSI and SARA. Interagency Council on Intermediate Sanctions Technical Report #1. Hawaii State Department of Health. Last accessed January 10, 2012.
- Date modified: